What Was the Shortest Letter Ever Written?

For the record of the world’s shortest letter, we have to travel back to 1862 in France. The noted writer Victor Hugo had just completed his latest novel, Les Miserables, and had gone away on a vacation. But he was most anxious to learn how the book was selling, so he wrote the following letter to his publisher:

“?”

The publisher was just as imaginative as Hugo and must share the record with him for the world’s shortest letter, for his reply to the writer was:

“!”

A reply that obviously made Hugo very happy.

What is also fascinating is that Victor Hugo is credited with writing the longest sentence ever to appear in a novel, in that very same Les Miserables. That sentence contains 823 words, 93 commas, 51 semicolons, and 4 dashes, and fills up almost 3 pages before a period appears!

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